Fin’s Dublin2019 Worldcon report

Well, it’s done — the 2019 Dublin Worldcon has joined the choir invisible, it has ceased to be, etc. In a way, I am very, very glad — last I saw, there were more than 5,500 people in attendance and that is about 5,497 more than I am usually comfortable with.

downloadHowever, in another, just as contradictorily real way, I am sad it’s over. It was only on the fourth day that I really hit my stride, culling every other panel I wanted to see (back-to-back attendance is nigh-on impossible even when the panels are in the same venue), getting over the shyness enough to greet people I “know” from Twitter in real life and remembering to eat enough, drink enough water and, when things get a bit much, just to get outside in the sporadic sunny spells that rolled over the CCD’s glass barrel.

I don’t share all the loves and fandoms of many of the groups of people there, nor they mine, there is something eminently comforting about being surrounded by people who  love and create fantastikal books, TV shows, movies, games, songs, whatever.

As a ‘business of writing’ event, I don’t know if it was successful or not, as I have no frame of reference. But I did meet Neil Clarke, the editor of Clarkesworld, whose two acceptances paid most of my way to attending Dublin2019, who did reassuringly ask when he can expect to see my next story (I am a bit mortified that I forgot to thank him for publishing two of them already and failed to offer him a drink, but I guess that will get easier at future cons too).

I met Dr Jack Fennell, literally a gent and a scholar, and marvelled at the depth of academic knowledge on display at his kaffeklatsch. Buy his book, A Brilliant Void. 

I encountered the first real-world fan of something I’ve written, whose glowing and enthusiastic welcome really picked me up after what had been a long and dispiriting day – thank you Zia.

I had a lovely chat with the brilliant writer Vina Jie-Min Prasad over tea in Bewleys, and was inspired by her knowledge of SF writing and its craft.

Best Of British Science Fiction 2018 cover
Best Of British Science Fiction 2018 cover – image is Les Edwards’ Chasing the Lightship

And I attended the first book launch on the other side of the writer’s table. The good news is I didn’t pass out with nerves, managed to sign my name reasonably intelligibly on some books, and the book sold out, so the publisher was happy, which I am told is important. You can still buy the book – The Best Of British Science Fiction 2018, edited by Donna Scott, from Newcon Press.

The panels I attended were all pretty good, but the highlights for me were Ian Watson at the alternative history panel; Alexandra Rowland on hopepunk (emphasis on the punk – that goes for you too, cyber-, steam-, diesel- and bio-); Kate Heartfield and  Elsa Sjunneson-Henry on some guy called Shakespeare; Michi Trota and Julia Rios on America under Trump — JFC;  Jo Walton everywhere I saw her, regardless of topic; and the Irish 2000AD panel — with David Ferguson, Maura McHugh, William Simpson and Michael Carroll — which was easily the funniest I saw at the con.

Worldcon was chaotic, tiring, and occasionally infuriating, but I left Dublin, which has changed so much since my college days, full of information and inspiration, having met and listened to some amazing people and with a resolve to take this auld writing lark a bit more seriously.

And that can’t be bad.

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An Irishman in The Best of British Science Fiction

The Miracle Lambs of Minane, first published in Clarkesworld in October of last year, has been selected for inclusion in The Best of British Science Fiction 2018.

Best Of British Science Fiction 2018 cover
Best Of British Science Fiction 2018 cover – image is Les Edwards’ Chasing the Lightship

To say I am pleased would be an understatement. A look at the table of contents over at editor Donna Scott’s website should explain why. To be listed near these writers – such as G.V. Anderson and Natalia Theodoridou, who have written some of my favourite short stories over the past couple of years, and Alastair Reynolds, Lavie Tidhar, and Dave Hutchinson, whose names I can see on my bookshelves – is both daunting and flattering.

As an added bonus, the book, which is published by Newcon Press, is being launched at the 2019 Worldcon in Dublin. So odds are I’ll get to meet at least some of these people in a city where I spent most of my 20s.

Clarkesworld October 2018I’m delighted that such an Irish story will get an outing at the first Irish Worldcon (second one in Cork in 2026, anyone?) and I’m very grateful to Neil Clarke at @clarkesworld for publishing it and the connected Last Boat Builder in Ballyvoloon in the first place.

As a final note, just to assuage the fears of my parents and my friend Marjorie, a place in the Best of British Science Fiction did not mean I had to surrender my passport, nor have I sworn allegiance to Her Maj. They are a fierce inclusive lot, the old SF community.

Finbarr O’Reilly’s 2018 awards eligibility post

hugo_smWell, it has been a slow year, and I have only had one story published — The Miracle Lambs of Minane — in the October 2018 edition of Clarkesworld.

On the plus side, I only wrote one story in 2018 (so far — I’m currently about 15,000 words off the pace in NaNoWriMo), so my publication rate is a blistering 100%. And it was the second sale I’ve made to Clarkesworld out of three stories I’ve submitted there, so 66% in that market is pretty good.

It’s a story I am proud of – it’s a little bit about food and famine, a little bit about abortion (Ireland had a pretty conclusive referendum on the matter in May, voting by two thirds to end the constitutional ban on ending unwanted pregnancies), and a little bit of a follow-up to my earlier story, The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon.

The Miracle Lambs has been described as both a folk tale and a witch story, which it is, although I didn’t truly realise that until other people commented on it. This also happened with The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon. It genuinely didn’t occur to me that it was a “horror” science fiction story until somebody tweeted me about it. I mean, I see it now — maybe I’m a bit slow on the uptake when it comes to my own work.

Anyway, The Miracle Lambs has had some pretty good reviews:

So please go give it a read — and maybe subscribe to Clarkesworld – they’re great — and keep me in mind should you be nominating anything this year. For the Nebulas or perhaps the Hugo Awards, which are being handed out at WorldCon in Dublin next year. That is a big deal for me — I went to university in Dublin and lived there for the bones of a decade (so I can tell you where the good pubs are, or at least where they were, which is practically time travel. With good Guinness).

I’m also in my second and final year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award, which, although not technically a Hugo award, is also being presented at WorldCon.

Thanks for your time and attention and maybe see you in Dublin (I’m going either way, but wouldn’t it be nice?).

Slán.

 

My (admittedly patchy) nominations for the Hugo Awards 2018

hugo_sm(UPDATED to add Charles Payseur to Best Fan Writer)

Nominations for the Hugo Awards close on Friday, March 16 – the nomination form is here – and because I have bought a membership to the Dublin Worldcon in 2019, I am eligible to nominate, if not vote, this year.

It was my first time nominating for the longlist, as I have usually been happy to wait for the shortlist, or even the winners, to emerge and see what I had read that matched up. But what the process has revealed that I am very poorly read in SFF circles this year. It’s something I have to work on.

In any case, my nominations are as follows:

 

Best novel:

No nomination. The only qualifying novel I read this year, I abandoned after about eighty pages. Nice idea, awful prose.
Best novella:
A big gap in my reading – I don’t seem to have read a single novella in 2017. I know they are enjoying something of a resurgence, but I can’t quite seem to make the transition up from the ‘delicious snack’ level of short stories or down from the 12-course banquet of the novel.
Best Novelette:
The Secret Life of Bots – Suzanne Palmer –  Clarkesworld
A Series of Steaks – Vina Jie-Min Prasad – Clarkesworld
Neptune’s Trident – Nina Allen – Clarkesworld
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know any of these were novelettes, or in fact what a novelette was. But I really liked all three of these long short stories. Nina Allen’s is probably my favourite, in an “I wished I had written that” sort of way.
Best Short Story:
Fandom for Robots – Vina Jie-Min Prasad – Uncanny
The Worldless – Indrapramit Das – Lightspeed
The Crisis – M John Harrison – CommaPress
Best Series:
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman – La Belle Sauvage
I know you are not supposed to nominate things you haven’t read, but even if this fourth book is Pullman pasting random lines from Jeremy Clarkson columns, the first three would still be enough to carry this series over the line. Anyway, you’re not my mother – I can vote for what I want.
Best Related Work:
Such a brilliant essay. I started it thinking it would be Round 724 in Kirk vs Picard, but it does so much to redeem Kirk’s reputation. It’s not just about Star Trek, it’s about men on screen, brave and uncynical characterisation and the nature of how we remember and misremember and how bloody easy humans are to reprogram through pop culture. Go read it.
Best Graphic Story:
I haven’t opened one this year.
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):
Thor Ragnarok – Taika Waititi – Marvel Studios
Logan – James Mangold – 20th Century Fox
I’m aware they are fairly blokey and white, but I haven’t seen anything else. Not Annihilation, nor Black Panther, nor the Shape of Water. Not even The Last Jedi. That’s what children do to cinema trips.
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):
Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad (Star Trek:Discovery) – Aron Eli Coleite, Jesse Alexander – CBS
Home (The Expanse) – Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby – SyFy (Alcon Entertainment)
The Trolley Problem (The Good Place) – Josh Siegel, Dylan Morgan – Fremulon
USS Callister (Black Mirror) – Charlie Brooker/William Bridges – Netflix
Guillotines Decide – (Orphan Black) Aisha Porter-Christie,  Graeme Manson – BBC America
I’ve done a lot better with small-screen SF this year than with books or movies.
It seemed like there was a lot of Trek around this year, some of it authorised, some of it a very convincing knock-off. Star Trek Disco I really enjoyed after a shaky start. Harry Mudd was probably the mid-season breather that allowed it to bed in in my mind. 
I probably would have thrown The Orville a vote if USS Callister hadn’t been so good – I think for all the show’s mis-steps, Seth MacFarlane is doing something from a place of reverence. Compare that with the reboot movies (again, go read Erin Horáková’s essay
The Expanse was all new to me – I’ve never read the books – but it was a real treat.
The Good Place is the second-funniest thing on TV this year (after The Young Offenders).
Orphan Black finally came to an end and managed to land the series after some turbulent middle seasons. Siobhan’s sacrifice left some dust in my eye – don’t mess with mothers, adoptive or otherwise.
Best Professional Editor (Long Form):
I haven’t read an SFF novel in 2017, so no nominations.
Best Professional Editor (Short Form):
Rich Horton
Jonathan Strahan
Gardner Dozois
Neil Clarke
Best Professional Artist:
Chris McGrath – Cover for Breach of Containment by Elizabeth Bonesteel (Harper Voyager, October)
Richard Anderson – Cover for The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear (Tor, October)
Jaime Jones – Cover for All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Tor.com, May)
Galen Dara – https://uncannymagazine.com/issues/uncanny-magazine-issue-sixteen/

Best Semiprozine:
Escape Pod – Mur Lafferty & Divya Breed
Strange Horizons – Jane Crowley, Kate Dollarhyde
Uncanny Magazine – Lynne M. Thomas, Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota
Best Fanzine:
File 770 – Mike Glyer
Best Fancast:
Galactic Suburbia – Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts
I should be writing – Mur Lafferty
Sword and Laser – Veronica Belmont, Tom Merritt
Get to Work Hurley! – Kameron Hurley
Coode Street Podcast – Jonathan Strahan, Gary K Wolfe
Best Fan Writer:
Charles Payseur – Quick Sip Reviews.
Best Fan Artist:
No nomination.
Best Young Adult Book (not a Hugo):
No nomination.
John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo):
Vina Jie-Min Prasad

Considering she has two excellent stories in two different categories above, it would have been rude not to nominate Vina. My money is on her to win at least one Hugo this year.

I will never again underestimate the amount of work that the Hugo voters put in – there is a lot of cool stuff out there and I am very conscious that I barely scratched the surface in 2017. But there is always next year.
It would be remiss of me not to mention that my story, The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, is eligible for nomination for a Short Story Hugo and that I am in my first year of eligibility for the Campbell Award. I can’t vote for myself.
Sin é (that’s it).

So apparently I am eligible to be nominated for a flipping Campbell Award (and my story for a Hugo Award)

(UPDATED UPDATED UPDATE) OK, so Rich Horton didn’t see his way to including my short story, The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, in his Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy. It would have been nice to go for the trifecta – Gardner Dozois, Neil Clarke and Horton (or the quadfecta of Dozois, Clarke, Horton and Coode Street’s Jonathan Strahan), but, you know, not everybody likes everything and some stuff always gets lost in the edit. I get that, and I am sanguine about the frankly massively unexpected success my one story of 2017 has had. However, Horton has seen fit to recommend me for this year’s Campbell Award. Just to sum up, I had one story published last year, and it got reprinted twice (Dozois and Clarke), recommended in the Locus Reading List and now Rich Horton has recommended me as worthy of consideration for the Campbell. I couldn’t be happier …

(UPDATED UPDATE: The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon has been chosen for the Locus Recommended Reading List.)

(UPDATE: The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon has also been included in Night Shade Books’ Best Science Fiction of The Year Vol 3, edited by Neil Clarke — I couldn’t be happier…)

bsfoty3

In August of last year, I received my first acceptance for a short story, The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, and it appeared in the October 2017 issue of Clarkesworld. I could not have been happier. Or so I thought.

My family read it and liked it, random people read it online and tweeted me how much they liked it. People even reviewed it. I thought I was chuffed with the electronic version of it (and the podcast) until my buddy Jeff sent me a print copy from Toronto as a gift. I could hold in my hand a printed science fiction magazine that contained something I had spent a long time wringing from my already word-addled brain. I could not have been happier. Or so I thought.

cobh library view

In November, the story was picked to be re-printed in the 35th edition of Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction, a book whose previous editions I checked out of Cobh library and read looking out over the harbour that formed the basis for the one in the story (that’s the view from the library window above – taken from Cork County Library’s twitter page). I could not have been happier. Or so I thought.

In January, after a nudge from Neil Clarke, the editor of Clarkesworld, I checked with the Writertopia website to see if my story could be added to their eligibility list for the John W. Campbell award. And apparently it could. I could not have been happier. Or so I thought.

What I hadn’t appreciated was this:

My story is eligible to be nominated for a Hugo Award. Now, I am familiar with the cliche of it being an honour to just be nominated, and assumed it was just that – something people trot out. But if this is how great it feels to even be eligible to be nominated for something, I have to imagine that it is true.

My story is eligible to be nominated for a Hugo Award. I couldn’t be happier…

My story, The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, is featured in the latest issue of Clarkesworld

clarkesworld October 2017[UPDATE: the podcast version of the story is now live. Listen to it here.]

Those wonderful people at Clarkesworld have published my short story – The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon.

Needless to say, I am over the moon. It is the first thing I have written that came close to satisfying my own internal critic and I worked hard on it. How hard? Well, having checked the revision history on the story, I started it on September 14, 2014 – so more than three years between writing the opening par and it being published. This scheme is not going to make me rich quick (or at all).

However, the excitement at being published is an incredible validation, a vote of confidence that I can now legitimately refer to myself as ‘a writer’. This small success is already driving me to write more and think more about writing. I have even ‘invested’ some of the fee (again, not huge, but certainly meaningful) in a ticket for the Dublin Worldcon in 2019. By then, the plan is to have stories everywhere and books on shelves. I figure if I aim high and undershoot, I can live with it.

The story itself, The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon, is broadly about environmental disaster, our innate drive to fix that disaster with technology and the fact that the damage done by such problems (and their solutions) is often predominantly felt by ‘little’ people in little towns.

The spark for it was [SPOILER] reading reports about a robot that hunts and kills the crown-of-thorns starfish, an invasive species that is damaging the Great Barrier Reef.

It is also about that weird part of people that urges them to make pointless gestures in the face of all logic that may do them immeasurable harm and that weird place in me that tends to see such gestures as noble rather than stupid.

The submission process at Clarkesworld is both blisteringly fast and agonisingly slow (from my perspective – it’s still very quick in general terms), in that the story was moved out of the slush readers’ instant rejection list almost immediately, but then spent more than six weeks ‘under review’ by editor Neil Clarke (again, that is pretty fast by SFF market standards, but there is a time dilation effect when the story is yours). However, on the plus side, that delay did mean that I was lucky enough to be home with my family in Ireland when the acceptance and contracts came through. The news was comprehensively celebrated!

The review process was fast and thorough and I was encouraged that little was changed from my original draft. My sub-editing colleagues and friends should know that the American spellings are Clarkesworld’s and not mine. 🙂

I am told there is a Clarkesworld podcast version of the story on the way – narrated by the accomplished Kate Baker. I hope my phone-recorded pronunciation guide will help and will update this post with a link once the audio version of The Last Boat-Builder in Ballyvoloon is published. [UPDATE: the podcast is now live. Listen to it on Clarkesworld here or on YouTube here.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story, and comment on it on Clarkesworld’s site (and subscribe to Clarkesworld or Patreon them- they’re ace!) and share it on Twitter, Facebook or wherever you like.

Slán

 

From A-lists to World War Z

Mark Evans

Brilliant interview with Max Brooks by Empire magazine here. I haven’t seen World War Z yet because I haven’t read the book yet. Must rectify that before a member of the undead snacks on my cerebellum. Great insights into the writing process, shenanigans with Hollywood, politics with China and steadfastly refusing to do his work any disservice. A tip of the hat to Mr Brooks.
Choice quote…

I went looking for a zombie survival guide. Nobody had written it, they were all off ‘having a life’, and I didn’t have that problem so I thought, ‘You know what? I have two extraordinary gifts: I have an excessive compulsive disorder and unemployment. And I’m going fuse them into a book.’ So I sat down and wrote zombie survival guide.
Max Brooks

PS, Yes, his dad is Mel ‘Blazing Saddles’ Brooks. Which raises the question – was Mongo a bean-eating zombie?

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How they took that 360-gigapixel panoramic shot of London

There’s a nice video piece on the BBC website on how they took that record-breaking panoramic shot from the top of the BT tower. I quite like the bit which says the top of the tower “only” moves 12 inches in 100mph winds.

The company behind the shot, 360Cities.net, has panoramas from around the world on its website including this moody shot of the river running through Cork city.

 

UV been framed: science photographs that are literally out of this world

Awful puns aside, there are two photos this week that absolutely blew me away. The first is from the amazing Curiosity rover, beaming back high-res images from the surface of Mars. This week it took one at night:

Mars under a blacklight – like a 90s nightclub

It may not seem like much, but this is a picture taken in the absence of sunlight on a planet that is at least 34.6 million miles away. The idea is to see if anything fluoresces under ultraviolet light. That the camera is mounted on a nuclear-powered, laser-wielding robot car only adds to my awe at what Nasa and its engineers and contractors come up with.

The second photo is from a camera that spent a mere five minutes outside Earth’s atmosphere, strapped to a rocket.  Five minutes is not enough to take a usable picture of my incessantly blinking extended family, but it was apparently enough for scientists to snap a 165-frame flipbook of ultraviolet radiation that was  detailed enough to solve one of science’s weirder solar conundrums. Watch the video — that is the thing responsible for all life on this planet:

Tougher copyright laws could finish Irish newspapers off

Once upon a time, people paid to have their businesses listed in the Golden Pages. Once upon a time, it was against the law to give somebody information about where to get a perfectly legal abortion in a foreign country. One day, I will have to tell my incredulous children these stories about things made irrelevant by the internet. Yesterday, I was given a third.

Once upon a time, newspapers used to sue people for sending them an audience.

Apparently, “there is a fight under way that will have an enormous bearing on the future of the news industry in Ireland”.

Gather ye round kids, and I will tell you of Y2K, SARS, Blur-vs-Oasis, Pippa Middleton’s bum and many other tales that were blown out of all proportion by Irish newspapers.

At the centre of the supposed row (really just a conference organised by the National Newspapers of Ireland) is a review into Irish copyright law and the doctrine of “fair use”. Leaders in at least two of the Irish newspapers, the Independent and the Examiner, maintain that search engines “steal” their content without paying a penny in return.

The Irish Independent yesterday wrote:

“Website giants are taking journalism at no cost and offering it for free — even though it is costing jobs and livelihoods in the trusted media sector.”

The Irish Examiner wrote:

“The scale of the piracy is astounding. In 2010, while every media company in the country shed jobs and cut costs to the bone, a single search engine operating in Ireland offered around 150,000 newspaper articles that cost publishers an estimated €46.5m to generate. Last year that site offered more than 350,000 articles at a cost equivalent to more than €110m. And all without paying one cent to those who created those articles.”

We know (because it was in The Irish Times) that the “website giant” and “single search engine” mentioned is Google, no stranger to such accusations — Rupert Murdoch once referred to them as a “piracy leader”. But at least he had the courage of his convictions and stopped the search engine from indexing The Times when it went behind a paywall (it has resumed listing since then. I wonder why?).

It is that point more than any other that shows up the ludicrous hypocrisy of newspapers complaining about search engines “stealing” their content.

Newspapers have thrown up the shop shutters, spread out their wares and asked Google to please tell people about them. Or, as the Examiner puts it, a “process … hardly different to what we more commonly describe as theft”.

So why don’t they just ask Google to stop? Every newspaper website contains a file called robots.txt which tells Google what it may or may not index. If the executives at the Indo and Examiner want Google to stop listing everything on their websites, they just have to push a button. Or at least ring the editor, tell him to ring the head of IT, and he will ask Jim, “on the website”, to push the button.

But, of course, they will not. If they shut Google out, their online advertising revenues, already small, will fall. This is not a moral argument, with newspapers telling search engines to do the right thing and pay their way. This is newspapers demanding a renegotiation, saying “please sir may I have some more”.

Irish newspapers are in trouble. Circulations are falling, ad revenues are falling, and digital revenues come nowhere near to making up the difference. And the managements of Irish newspapers do not know what to do.

If you question that, take another look at those numbers:

“Irish industry group the National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI), of which The Irish Times is a member, said Google had offered 150,000 newspaper articles in 2010 that had cost publishers around €46.5 million to produce. Last year, this increased to more than 350,000 articles that cost the industry €110 million to originate.”

At a time when publishing has never been more widespread, easier or cheaper, these guys think lax copyright is the problem, not that each article costs them an average €314 to produce?

Let us completely ignore the fact that newspapers regularly “copy and paste” material from other sources, both public domain and not-so-public domain, and pass it off as their own, original, copyrightable work. Let us not hold our breath when we ask: do they always pay freelance newspaper contributors to reprint their copyrighted work online?

€314 per article? I don’t know what shift rates are like in Ireland these days but I’m guessing they’re less than that and I’m guessing most papers expect more than a story per day.

If this were any other industry, it is journalists who would be asking the sensible questions:

  • Doesn’t Irish copyright law already make selling somebody else’s original work as your own illegal? (Yes, for a given value of original.)
  • Would this be difficult and costly to enforce? (Yes, incredibly so.)
  • Will it stop people reading “free” news online? (Of course not.)
  • Will print publications be subject to the same rules? Digests in The Week and The Economist both carry more text than a Google link. Will they have to pay?

Newspapers are not dying because people online can read their stories without paying them. Newspapers are dying because the property and recruitment booms ended, because classified ads moved online, because they were poorly managed (aimless regional expansion, propping up vanity titles in London, €50 million for myhome.ie, anyone?) and just because technology passed them by for almost 20 years.

You are not going to solve a 21st-century technological problem by strengthening a law introduced to regulate 18th-century printing presses.

The Examiner says “Newspapers do not want or expect special treatment”, but that is not how it looks. Earlier this year, Alan Crosbie, the chairman of Thomas Crosbie Media, which owns the Examiner, essentially pleaded for a portion of the TV licence fee that funds RTÉ.

John Lloyd, a contributing editor to the FT, said the speech was driven by “the passion of desperation”. Given the parlous state of TCH finances reported in The Phoenix last month, it is unlikely that desperation has gone anywhere.

Paywalls are often suggested as a cure for newspapers’ revenue woes. I’ve written here before about why I think they’re not, but the main reason is that there will always be other sources of news. Such as the BBC and, in Ireland, RTÉ. They are not going anywhere as news-gathering organisations, despite the wishful thinking of the NNI, and as long as they’re around, Google will have news content to link to.

Google will not pay you for the privilege of linking to your content. The notion is akin to Borris-in-Ossory demanding payment from anyone who gives directions to a motorist, because it cannot extract enough money from them when they arrive. Google will just stop indexing your websites and traffic will dry up.

It is hard to think of a more misguided, and pointless “row” to be having in the face of the difficulties Irish papers are enduring than over whether copyright is strong enough. In 20 years’ time my kids will be asking what it was.

“Boss, circulation’s down, ad revenues are down, the kids are all reading for free online. What do we do?”

“Somebody get me a Golden Pages. We need a copyright lawyer.”